REVIEW: The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)

The Mitchell family (voiced by Maya Rudolph, Abbi Jacobson, Michael Rianda, and Danny McBride) in THE MITCHELLS vs. THE MACHINES — Photo: Sony Pictures Animation / Netflix.

Directed by Michael Rianda (Gravity Falls) — Screenplay by Mike Rianda & Jeff Rowe.

Sometimes it’s difficult to really gauge whether or not the hype for a film is justified or not. From the outset, what I had heard about The Mitchells vs. The Machines sounded really good. The premise was neat, I liked what I had seen of its animation style in trailers, but I wasn’t sure if it would work as a total package once I finally felt ready to sit down and watch the film, which had been on my watchlist for quite some time. The reactions that I had heard from my peers also made it sound like far and away one of the best animated films in years, which was overwhelming information that I didn’t know what to do with at that moment since I was a little bit too busy when it was released. I ended up waiting a considerable amount of time before I finally watched it, which meant that when I finally felt the urge to start up Netflix and watch their Lord & Miller-produced animated hit, the hype had sort of died down at least a little bit. So, having now seen the film, do I think the hype was justified? Well, yeah. Though I was trepidatious initially, the film more than won me over.

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Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Summer ’21, Pt. 2: ‘The Fear Street Trilogy,’ ‘Bad Trip,’ and More

Maya Hawke as Heather in FEAR STREET PART ONE: 1994 – Photo: Netflix.

In this edition of my monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I talk about my experience of trying to catch-up on some of the 2021 films released earlier this year, including an entire trilogy of films! What did I think about the Fear Street-films? Is the Rear Window-inspired flick, The Woman in the Window, worth a watch? Is Bad Trip, the hidden camera comedy, funny enough for its runtime? Are Doug Liman and Alexandre Aja’s latest films any good? Well, scroll down to find out in another jam-packed edition of Additional Bite-Sized Reviews!

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REVIEW: Stowaway (2021)

Daniel Dae Kim in Joe Penna’s STOWAWAY — Photo: Netflix.

Directed by Joe Penna (Arctic) – Screenplay by Joe Penna & Ryan Morrison.

Back in 2019, Joe Penna released his feature-length directorial debut, the Mads Mikkelsen-vehicle Arctic, which was a gripping story of survival in the face of a hopeless and cold wilderness. I was extremely impressed by Penna’s debut film, as it felt real, as it had a lot of heart, and since it rarely felt Hollywood-ized. It also helped that Mads Mikkelsen delivered one of his best performances in Penna’s underseen debut.

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Top Ten TV-Shows of 2020

Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill in Better Call Saul: Season 5, Episode 10 — Photo: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television.

It is kind of incredible just how much streaming services have overtaken the top tier of what we still refer to as ‘television shows.’ Perhaps we need to find another name for these series. Some of them are released all at once, some are released week-by-week, but almost all of the shows on my list were released on streaming services, and, in my case, I watched all ten of my top ten television shows on streaming services. In the 2020-edition, there are plenty of ‘familiar faces,’ as it were, but it’s also the first time that both Apple TV+ and Disney+ have made an appearance on any of my end of the year-lists. But where do the top shows on these relatively new streaming services land on my top ten, and what is the best show of the year? Let’s have a look!

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8th I’m Jeffrey Rex Awards – 2020

It’s finally time to reveal what films, shows, songs, performances, and games were my absolute favorites of the year 2020. Look, I know what you’re thinking, we’re already in July of 2021. But, to be perfectly honest with you, the last twelve-to-sixteen months or so have for obvious reasons made everything a bit unclear to me. Let’s just say, it was a weird year, as was also evident by the fact that AMPAS decided to push the eligibility window for their recent awards ceremony (which both honored 2020 films and select films from early 2021). I’m not doing that, though. I still have my strict year-end deadline, but, unlike the last seven I’m Jeffrey Rex Awards, I’m announcing both the nominees and winners of each and every category in this very post. So strap in, folks, and let’s talk about the best and most memorable culture of 2020.

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Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Summer ’21: ‘Mare of Easttown,’ ‘Cruella,’ and More

Emma Stone as ‘Cruella’ in Disney’s live-action ‘CRUELLA’ — Photo: Disney / Disney+.

In this edition of my monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I reveal my mixed thoughts on the Emma Stone-vehicle Cruella, and then I recommend three television shows, one of which I’ve been meaning to review for several months. This edition of Additional Bite-Sized Reviews is jam-packed!

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REVIEW: Gunpowder Milkshake (2021)

Karen Gillan as Sam in ‘Gunpowder Milkshake.’ Photo: Reiner Bajo / Netflix / StudioCanal.

Directed by Navot Papushado — Screenplay by Navot Papushado & Ehud Lavski.

While the Chad Stahelski and David Leitch’s John Wick from 2014 was a fantastic and emotionally involving revenge action film, I didn’t initially like the idea of making it a franchise. Eventually, though, I warmed to the idea and grew to really appreciate the Keanu Reeves-led stylized action franchise, and I became invested in the films’ epic underworld which was surprisingly complex. With the success of Stahelski and Leitch’s action franchise, similar films were produced to varying results. Unfortunately, in spite of its impressive cast, Navot Papushado’s Gunpowder Mikshake feels more like an imitation of Stahelski and Leitch’s impressive world-building than a successful original film.

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Bo Burnham’s ‘Inside’ is the First Masterpiece of 2021

Still Image from Bo Burnham’s ‘Inside’ — Available on Netflix now.

To tell you the truth, I couldn’t possibly tell you how many times I’ve watched the ending of Bo Burnham’s previous comedy special, Make Happy. With his closing song “Can’t Handle This,” he showed everyone watching the kind of uniquely gifted talent he is. I remember thinking so many times about the line from the song that intimated that Burnham struggled to make himself happy, and I also learned since then that he quit stand-up comedy shows due to him having suffered from severe panic attacks on stage. But his talents off the stage have nonetheless shone since then, which was evident from his incredible directorial feature film debut, Eighth Grade.

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REVIEW: Army of the Dead (2021)

Dave Bautista in Zack Snyder’s ‘ARMY OF THE DEAD.’ — Photo: Clay Enos / Netflix.

Directed by Zack Snyder — Screenplay by Zack Snyder, Shay Hatten, and Joby Harold.

There is always something special about films that return a filmmaker to his beginnings in some way, shape, or form. Such a film may not always end up as a ‘return to form,’ but for a filmmaker to return to his roots is undeniably exciting. Before Zack Snyder became a fanboy favorite as the director of multiple different graphic novel adaptations such as Man of Steel or 300, his very first feature film was the 2004 remake of the 1970s horror classic Dawn of the Dead. The remake, which was written by James Gunn, is still my favorite film that Snyder has directed, so I was naturally very excited when it was announced that he was returning to the zombie horror sub-genre with Netflix’s Army of the Dead. Although it’s certainly not as good as his previous zombie flick, Snyder’s latest film is definitely worth checking out on Netflix.

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REVIEW: BoJack Horseman – Season Six (2019-2020)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of the sixth and final season of BoJack Horseman (Parts I and II) — Available on Netflix.

In the final season of BoJack Horseman, the titular character goes to rehab as he decides it is time to grapple with his own trauma and the trauma that he has caused. But sometimes it isn’t good enough to exercise personal growth, and BoJack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnett) may have to be put through the wringer by unrelenting gossip journalists that hope to ‘cancel,’ so to speak, our titular character.

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